Wonder how life in the the U.S. compares to other countries? Consult the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s OECD Better Life Index, which provides data and comparisons on 11 areas related to quality of life: housing, income, jobs, health, community, education, environment, civic engagement, life satisfaction, safety, and work-life balance. Select a country from the OECD’s 34 member countries (plus Brazil and Russia), or select a particular subject area.
If you choose the United States, for example, you’ll find that we should be (and apparently are) pretty happy with our lot because “it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.”
The index notes that we tend to work a lot of hours, higher than the OECD average, and there is a “considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn approximately eight times as much as the bottom 20%.” However, average household disposable income and net financial wealth are both higher than the OECD average.
The index also finds that “Americans are more satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 83% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 80%.”
So here’s hoping that for the remainder of 2013 we all have more positive experiences than negative ones every day, especially during exams. Good luck, everyone! Let’s end the year on a positive note!
Would you like to learn more about happiness? Check out the World Happiness Report. In that report, data from different polls is presented, e.g., the World Values Survey‘s “Happy Index by Country” places the U.S. below several other countries, like Iceland and New Zealand, but still pretty happy compared to most countries.
Search HALCat for books about happiness such as Exploring happiness: From Aristotle to brain science (3rd-floor Main Collection, BJ1481 .B64 2010), The little guide to happiness (3rd-floor Main Collection, BF575.H27 N37 2002), and The happiness project: Or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun (in process–ready for checkout soon!).
If you’d like assistance with finding materials, please ask a librarian.